Memos & Research

Donald Trump’s Approach to Environmental Safeguards

Aug 8, 2016

Earlier today – just three months from Election Day – Donald Trump gave his first campaign speech on economic policy. In his speech, Trump said, “I am going to cut regulations massively … Upon taking office, I will issue a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations … I will ask each and every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on Americans which are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs. Those regulations will be eliminated.”

LCV wanted to know – which regulations is Denier Donald attacking? While his speech was scant on detail, Trump has laid out which agencies and regulations he was talking about over the course of his campaign. Here’s what Trump’s suggestions would actually mean: more pollution, fewer protections, and no science.


Donald Trump has repeatedly made it clear that he would cut the EPA. The EPA is charged with executing and enforcing the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule; if Trump eliminated funding the agency itself, both rules would effectively be nullified.

  • Clean Power Plan. The nation’s first federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants are allowedto dump into our air, the Clean Power Plan empowers states to craft their own plans to reduce carbon pollution. By focusing on cleaner energy, the plan will prevent 3,000 premature deaths from heart attacks and respiratory illnesses, 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and 300,000 missed work and school days. Furthermore, we are now at a point where the economy is growing the carbon emissions are not. Donald Trump would eliminate the Clean Power Plan altogether, risking the health of our families to protect Big Polluters’ profits.
  • Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule restores protections for the small streams and wetlands that are essentialto our health, communities, and economy. Specifically, the rule protects bodies of water that are “scientifically sown to have the greatest impact on downstream water quality and form the foundation of our nations’ water resources.” The impact? The Clean Water rule will protect the clean drinking of one in three Americans  – that’s 117 million people. Donald Trump would eliminate the Clean Water Rule, putting the clean drinking water of 117 million Americans at risk for pollution.


  • Climate Science Denial. 2016 is slated to be the warmest year on record, thanks to rising temperatures brought on by climate change. 2015 currently owns that record, followed by 2014. 97 percent of climate scientists agree that warmer temperature trends over the past century are “very likely due to human activities.” In fact, scientists are “more certain than ever” that humans are actively changing the climate. Even the Pentagon has warned that climate change is a threat to national security. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of the American people – a record high – believe that man-made climate change is real, including a majority of Trump’s own supporters. Donald Trumphas said that the “concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” to make the United States less competitive. He has also referred to climate change as “bullshit,” a hoax, and a money-making industry. If elected,Donald Trump would be the only head of state to deny the reality of climate change, and has threatened to tear up the Paris Climate Accord – the single most important step ever taken to meet the challenge of climate change – and the result of successful American international leadership under Pres. Obama.
  • Untrustworthy Sources. Trump cited the Institute for Energy Research, a group that denies the reality of climate change, to bolster his case for removing current environmental safeguards against dirty energy. IER, and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance, have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and multiple groups tied to the Koch Brothers. It’s not really surprising that Trump – whose top energy adviser is an outspoken climate change skeptic and “basically a representative of the oil and gas industries” – would turn to an organization in the pocket of Big Oil and the Koch Brothers for energy advice. Donald Trump would let the oil and gas industry write their own rules, letting them make a profit while our families suffer more polluted air and water.

Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.